Tuesday, April 21, 2009
twd: bread pudding
Would you believe that I've never baked nor eaten bread pudding before? My friend S has waxed poetic about this dish, and I often wondered, as I did about rice pudding, what the big deal was.
The big deal, historically, is about being resourceful. And frugal. Stale bits of bread could be salvaged with liquid, and turned into a sweet treat with a little extra love and care. Think about how magical bread pudding would be when the pantries were nearly empty. When layer cakes and goodie-studded cookies were a rare occurrence. (There are some interesting stories and quotes about all manners of pudding on this website).
And so, instead of throwing up my hands in frustration at my town, in which eggy, buttery breads like Challah and Brioche are non-existent outside of home kitchens, I was resourceful. I remembered the slightly stale loaf of Zingerman's farm bread stuck in my freezer. While it's not a delicate, rich bread--it's tangy and earthy--it fits the original spirit of this dessert. Combined with some delicious chocolate--a little Ghiradelli 100% and Scharffen Berger 62%--from my chocolate drawer, and a handful of Michigan dried cherries, this could be good. Lacking cream and only having skim milk on hand, I worried that the custard would be too thin, but I was being frugal. And resourceful. The custard *was* thin before baking, but it thickened nicely in the oven.
Thank you, Lauren, of Upper East Side Chronicle, for choosing this recipe that I likely never would've made otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed putting my resourcefulness to the test, and realizing that dessert can be a simple matter of transforming old scraps into something delicious.
Please check out my TWD blogging friends for more tales of bread pudding.